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Saturday 16 December 2017

Ruddock: I'm keeping faith in heroes for English clash

U20 WORLD CUP: Ireland v England

COACH Mike Ruddock has taken his Ireland U20s where few have managed to go before by eclipsing South Africa on their own turf at the World Cup in Stellenbosch.

There should be a better reward for their Herculean feat than a renewal of their Six Nations rivalry of power-packed champions England in Pool B.

"England are the current Six Nations Champions and we will have to reproduce the intensity we showed against South Africa if we are to get a result in this game. We have done our homework and we are now looking forward to the game," said the coach.

Ruddock has made the brave decision to stick with the same 15 that started in the thrilling 23-19 victory over the Baby Boks on day one straight after the English battered Italy 64-5.

Admittedly, there are two alterations to the bench where fly-half Stuart Olding and back-five forward Shane Buckley will sit.

The problem is that the Irish have had just four days to rest and recover from a brutal encounter, while England had it all their own way and have far greater depth to their squad with which to tinker.

For the sake of continuity, developing patterns of play and as a reward for their stellar work on Monday, Ruddock will keep his faith in those who have put Ireland in a strong position.

To win, Ireland will have to replicate the tremendous defence and physicality they displayed against SA and look to out-half JJ Hanrahan to take all the chances that come his way.

Ireland: P Nelson (Ulster), B Daly (Leinster), F Horan (Leinster), C Farrell (Ulster), Sam Coghlan-Murray (Leinster); JJ Hanrahan (Munster), K Marmion (Connacht); D Merrey (Leinster), N Scannell (Munster, Capt), T Furlong (Leinster), T Beirne (Leinster), I Henderson (Ulster), J Coghlan (Leinster), J Conan (Leinster), C Gilsenan (Leinster).

Oz pair fight probe

Wallabies playmakers Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale face a disciplinary investigation by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) after media reports they had been involved in a scuffle outside a Brisbane bar early this morning.

The two injured backs were involved in a brawl with security guards at the Victory Hotel in the early hours of the morning after being evicted from the venue.

The ARU has launched a probe into the incident, a spokesman said, while declining to provide details.

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